VAT: we are not yet VAT registered…do we need to be?


For shipments outside the EU and dispatches within the EU? (shipments of whiskey)


Hi Kathryn,

Maybe take a look at this section of the HMRC website:

There is a revenue threshold, currently set at £79,000 per annum.

You can also seek advice from the HMRC VAT Helpline on whether you need to register for VAT or not:

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Ian James.


Hi again Kathryn – my usual advice, when getting involved in international trade, is that you should be VAT registered; you need to look at the full pros and cons of this for your business.
EU trade is very different from international trade – usually easier – but with your goods you have three issues to address
1. Making EC Sales Lists to HMRC and potentially Intrastat reports
2. VAT is not harmonised within the EU – if you are not VAT registered this isn’t a major issue when selling to other member states (it is if buying from other member states though) but if you do get VAT registered then you will have to charge UK VAT on sales to other EU member states unless your customers can provide you with their valid national VAT registration number
3. Excise duty – this is an additional customs tax levied on alcohol, tobacco and fuels. It is a national tax set at different rates through out the EU and if you are not careful you or your customers could end up paying more than you should. There is also strict control on movment of Excise goods within the EU with a dedicated movement management system (EMCS)

In addtion, if you want to export outside the EU you will have to get an Economic Operator Registered Identification number from HMRC – which is different from a VAT number – but without one you cannot export or import goods.

We run excise training in Manchester and London next 9th January in Manchester.

You can contact me on [email protected]


Hi Sandra

Thanks for your response. Yes, I think we will go for VAT registration, and then the EORI. I am just trying to get my head around all the different regulations, re this and duty etc. Its quite a minefield!

Can you drop me a note with costs for your courses please?


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